Life during World War 2 in the United States wasn’t business as usual. Sacrifices were made. Priorities were adjusted. The all-consuming goal was to win the war.
Ephesians 6:12 describes a spiritual war. The stakes are the eternal destiny of every human being on earth. Sacrifices must be made, and priorities adjusted. “No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer” (2 Timothy 2:4, NIV).
The pastor isn’t a hired gun to fight this spiritual war while laypersons fight with each other for power in the church. Every Christian is a soldier. Let’s stop divisive shooting at one another. Let’s fight together against the enemy.
Paul met twelve men in Ephesus who professed to follow Christ. But they hadn’t received the Holy Spirit. They were more devoted to John the Baptist than to Jesus. Through Paul’s preaching they focused on Jesus. After they received the Holy Spirit, they praised and bore witness to Him. That’s what Christian soldiers do.
In the spiritual war, we need power and a careful aim. Paul’s aim was to reproduce himself spiritually by preaching Christ where He wasn’t known (Romans 15:20). That involved first passing through Macedonia and Achaia and then going to Jerusalem and Rome (verse 21).
Acts 19:8–10 summarizes Paul’s ministry in Ephesus. The first three months there he preached to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ. After opposition against him mounted, he went directly to the Gentiles. Notice the results. “…All the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord” (Luke 19:10, NIV). Who told them? Paul’s converts in Ephesus did. Paul’s strategy was to make disciple-makers (2 Timothy 2:2), not to try to reach everyone himself.
The real fruit of a peach tree is another peach-bearing tree. We reproduce ourselves spiritually by making disciple-makers. Then, others will continue our ministry after our last breath on earth. The gospel baton must pass from generation to generation.
To make disciples we must overcome the resistance to action that keeps us spectators. We must launch out in faith that’s greater than our fear. When we do, we’ll see those who formerly loved darkness become lovers of light. They’ll help others do the same. There’s no greater miracle!
Attention! Friendly fire is a real problem. The Enemy shoots too. He often uses professing Christians to fire his bullets that cause pain, division, and strife. There’s no excuse for lovelessness, bitterness, a lack of forgiveness, disunity, or gossip. Beware of becoming an unwitting soldier in the Enemy’s army. A battle rages in your community. The goal is to win the war. Attention! Forward, March!
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